The Implications of Social Media in Hospitality Research

The Implications of Social Media in Hospitality Research

Xi Yu Leung (Allegiant Air, USA), Manognya Murukutla (University of Nevada Las Vegas, USA) and Mehmet Erdem (University of Nevada Las Vegas, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch668
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Background

The communication theory has been used to develop a framework of social media applications in the hospitality area. An interactive model of the communication process (Weiner, 1988) emphasized four key elements: sender, message, receiver, and feedback.

The emergence of social media has affected the traditional communication process dramatically. Thackeray and Neiger (2009) stated that the communication process has evolved from a unidirectional to a multidirectional process. That is, consumers receive messages from both traditional media channels (mass media) and new media channels (social media). Thus, the communication process model considers both traditional company marketers and consumers who develop and share messages through social media as senders.

The multidirectional communication model suggests that there are three communication processes interacting amongst the three components: the business, the creator, and the receiver. Both the business and creator act as senders. Consumers can be both senders and receivers. The three communication processes among three components form a triangular framework of social media (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Framework of social media research in hospitality

Figure 1. also describes significant social media applications in the hospitality area. Consumers who have used a product or service offered by hospitality businesses receive messages about their experiences and then post information (such as pictures, content, comments, videos, etc.) on social media outlets. In this sense, consumers act as creators. The material they post is accessible by businesses as feedback. Consumers who haven’t used a product or service, named as receiver, receive information from both businesses and creators. The creators send messages to the receivers, known as word-of-mouth information about the product or service. Information from the creators and the businesses both appear to affect receivers’ decisions. Based on the information, the receiver may form a specific perception of a business. The receivers may also share messages and generate customer-to-customer interactions on social media, resulting in feedback to the creators, strengthening the word-of-mouth effects. Based on these communication processes, social media can be used by businesses for marketing, customer management, and customer relationship building and service recovery. As shown in the framework, the use of social media is not a one way street, but a cycle that involves many interactions among consumers and businesses.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social media: An Internet-based application based on technological foundations of Web 2.0 that allows users to create, share, edit, organize and comment on content (user-generated content).

Creator: Consumers who have used a product or service offered by hospitality businesses create and share information (such as pictures, content, comments, videos, etc.) through social media.

User-Generate Content (UGC): All contents generated by Internet users online.

Hospitality Business: Also called hospitality industry or tourism industry, a broad category of fields within the service industry that includes lodging, restaurants, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, and additional fields.

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